Sunday, July 24, 2011

"I Look at Fabric from Both Sides Now..."

Some of you may recall the stack of upholstery fabrics that I purchased on a recent trip to one of my local upholstery fabric stores.  I wrote a blog post about it (here's the link) and posted a picture of what I purchased.

Well, I finally got two projects done from that stack--two mens size 42 vests, both with the same fabric but using opposite sides!  I couldn't decide which side of the fabric I liked the best, so I channeled Joni Mitchell and decided, "Hey, why not use both?"

So I did.  The lining and the lapels are the same fabric for both projects, but the buttons are different.

I really had a lot of fun with this--it felt like I had actually purchased two fabrics instead of one.  Even if I hadn't decided to make two vests from the same fabric, I still had two wonderful options for whatever I might have decided to do when I had only paid for one!  It made me feel like I won a surprise bonus or something...

Here are the pics of the two vests.  I used some stock fabric that I had on hand for the lapels and welts for the pockets--a beautiful polyester changeable taffeta with machine embroidered flowers on it in burgundy and pine and mustard.  I used the light brown silk (on the top left in the picture of the fabrics) for the lining of both of the vests, and it turned out great.  And I got to choose two different sets of buttons that went with it...  You know how difficult it is to sometimes make up your mind about stuff like that in the fabric store?  Well, blissfully, I didn't have to this time!  Haha!!  I felt like I was in the Land of And.  "I'll have this AND that!"  Wheee!

I have just enough lining left over for a handbag or something small.  I may end up piecing it together into another ruff, or maybe I'll try my hand at crazy quilting for a reticule.  We'll see.  : )

I like this particular weave because it reminds me of fabric that would have been more popular many years ago in the Edwardian and Victorian eras.  Even this print (for some gentlemen of today) is too bold for most attire, and it borders on "costumey".  But I think that's perfect for my stuff.  There's something "period" about it that makes it seem not quite contemporary.  It's got a vintage feel without being actually vintage.

It's also heavy enough to be firm and retain it's crisp quality, but not so heavy that it requires any internal flat lining to provide body or structure.  Upholstery fabrics can be a gamble sometimes--under intense heat from an iron they can curl up or melt, so it's always wise to check the fiber content regardless of it's hand or weight.

I don't have very much of the fabric left (less than a yard) but I'll find something to do with it.  Being a big fan of James Christensen's art, I think the print lends itself to some form of doll clothing inspired by his work.  I know that he was really popular as inspiration a long time ago (like 15 years ago!) but I still really enjoy his creations.  I urge you to follow the link to his website--it's beautiful stuff!

I still have many many pieces of fabric to experiment with--I think my next project is going to involve the chocolate bucle√© (at the bottom of the picture) with a really cool brocade motif in it.  I think it's going to be a single breasted vest this time, since double-breasted vests need a sort of "event" to wear them...  These aren't "every day" attire, really, are they?  Not that they shouldn't be...  In fact, it might be nice to bring some class back to the work place, wouldn't it?

In fact, to encourage that very idea (and to cut down on the excuses not to) I'm also experimenting with some neckties to wear with these vests...  For some reason, wearing these over a t-shirt seems a bit "off" to me...  But more on that later!!

It goes without saying that these will be available at my Etsy and Artfire shops, so keep your eyes peeled if you're interested...

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!


4 comments:

  1. These vests are wonderful!!!.
    Yes, sometimes the "wrong" side is just as appealing.I have just come back from a curtain fabrics warehouse(remnants), and found silks, sample books...hmm..Just LOVE those textures.I must make a doll for that wonderful silk fabric.it's cream.Lovely with lace.

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  2. Thanks so much, Judy! And isn't silk just wonderfully versatile? It can be soft and gentle, or it can be thick and textural, or slubby or smooth... It's strong and lightweight at the same time! I just love it!!

    Congrats on your big find!!! I once made a coat with upholstery fabric samples. The pieces were longer, but they were all 8" wide... *groan* Here's the page:
    http://relishedartistry.blogspot.com/2009/09/coat-project.html

    If any of your samples are wool, you might consider throwing them in the washer and dryer and "felting" a couple of them--makes 'em nice and soft and fluffy! They shrink a lot, of course, but they still come out pretty cool. : )

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  3. The vests look very flamboyant! It was a fabric seller who suggested I use the wrong side for my lining after I complained the fabric I had bought did not look good - too shiny.

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  4. I hadn't thought about looking at the wrong side of fabrics. I bet some of the upholstery fabrics are beautiful on the back! Thanks for the tip!

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